Many have heard in the news the recent story of the woman mauled by her friend's chimpanzee. It is a tragic story for all. The owner of the chimp watched it almost kill her close friend and then watched the police kill the chimp. The woman who was attacked is in the hospital extremely disfigured and fighting for her life. The chimpanzee is dead, and the family of the woman who was attacked is suing the owner of the chimp for 50 million dollars. The chimp owner loved the chimp and had him almost his whole life. He was like her son, she said, but in an instant the chimp turned violent for no apparent reason.

This is just a reminder of how important it is to leave animals in the wild. They are not meant to be movie stars, commercial actors, or people's personal pets. One of the reasons orangutans are so lowly populated is because of the illegal pet trade taking place in Asia. Poachers shoot the mother orangutans so they can take their babies. The baby orangutans are being taken to countries in Asia to be sold as pets to be kept in people's homes. Though they are adorable as babies, orangutans get very big as adults and the illegal pet owners often resent caring for the creatures as they reach adulthood. Orangutans are still wild animals and thus still have instincts. They can be very difficult to care for and are potentially dangerous and even deadly. This is why people have to realize where orangutans and all apes belong- in the wild.  


I encourage you to write to any companies that use orangutans, or any wild animals, in movies, commercials, etc. Let them know how wrong this is. They make them look so cute and cuddly that they encourage people to say, "I want one of those." I also ask you to write to your state or city Indonesian and Malaysian consulate and let them know that you care about the survival of orangutans and that you support them taking a strong stand against poachers.


Remember, this is our world. We all need to help in keeping all living things safe!


Sarah Collins, OUREI Youth Ambassador